Established as the leader of the Evergreen 2A, River Ridge brought its game to Sam Benn Gym on Thursday night and showcased it effectively against Aberdeen.
Running, gunning, forcing turnovers and keeping the hosts from feeling comfortable, the Hawks took flight in the first half and soared to a 57-44 girls basketball victory over the Bobcats.
Following the contest, senior wing Mo Donovan was presented a gold ball by head coach Aaron Roiko and former AHS coach Wayne Ross to commemorate her 1,000th career point scored in the game. Donovan needed four points entering the game to hit the milestone, which she achieved with a free throw in the fourth quarter.
“I was happy that Coach Ross was here; he got to see more than 900 of those points,” Roiko said. “As a player, 1,000 points is a fantastic accomplishment. And, it goes without saying that she had teammates to help her get there, so I am really happy for Mo to be able to get that milestone.”
Aberdeen (2-2, 7-2) opened the contest with the first basket of the night, a Kiana Dixon layup off an Emily Fisher assist in the opening seconds. After that, River Ridge (4-1, 7-3) started running.
Leaking their guards out for easy transition baskets and plucking wayward Bobcat passes, the Hawks took off with the lead that was never challenged. Jazzlynn Brewster scored 12 of her game-high 25 points in the opening quarter to push River Ridge to a 23-11 advantage.
A quick early basket by Dixon in the second quarter got Aberdeen to within 10, 23-13, but that was as close as it would get. Offensive rebounds by Rebecca Stevenson and steals from Natalie Scott and Catriece Baker powered River Ridge through to halftime, 36-21.
“In the first half, they got out and ran,” Roiko said. “I told the girls that their defensive pressure got to us in our half-court sets. They were better. That happens in sports. We got outcoached and outplayed. In the second half, we settled down and played well. However, we missed some easy looks at the basket and when you are down by 15, you can’t miss those shots against good teams. It just wasn’t our night offensively.”
Both teams struggled in the third quarter, which featured a scoreless 3 1/2-minute stretch to start the frame. The Bobcats, in need of momentum to get back into the contest, were hit with 10 turnovers in the quarter forced by River Ridge’s defense. The teams found some offense late in the quarter, but River Ridge was safe in the fourth period.
Fisher led the Bobcats with 11 points and Ericka Manwell and Dixon added eight points each.
On Tuesday, Aberdeen hits the road to take on Centralia.
RR 23 13 11 10 — 57 Abe 11 10 8 15 — 44
River Ridge (57) — Coleman, Schultz 12, Scott 2, Baker 2, Santos, Brewster 25, McGill 2, Evans 2, Montgomery, Bernethy 6, Stevenson 6. FG — 22-61 (.361). FT — 11-15.
Aberdeen (44) — Schermer 4, Fisher 11, Timmons 6, Dixon 8, Walsh, Manwell 8, Blackburn, Donovan 7. FG — 19-58 (.328). FT — 5-6.
JV — Aberdeen 34, River Ridge 22.